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PostPosted: Fri January 1st, 2010, 13:52 GMT 
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Location: garden of delights
Hey just for fun, google Gordon Jenkins, Crescent City Blues and Folsom Prison.

Also, take a look at the writing credits on Self Portrait for the song Gotta Travel On, then think about those names for a while (you might recognise at least some of them), then google the history of that song.

Happy New Year to all the artists, and all the fans, may it be a creative, fun and entertaining year for all.


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 06:47 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 22nd, 2009, 03:33 GMT
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chrome horse wrote:
LJ, superb thread, in the beginning anyway. Great writing, great insight. I pretty much agree with all your ideas.

The sphinxster reminds me of an incident in some college class I was in years ago somewhere. We were discussing art. One student told a good story. He had been in some other class discussing Jackson Pollack - famous for his splatter paintings. He was elaborating on the Pollack story when another student blurted out "there's nothing to that technique, I could do it!". "I looked directly at him and said, no you can't, you never did, and you never will!".

All I see in sphinx, which I see in most Dylan doubters, is jealousy(but well written jealousy!). And, if it's so easy, go do it. We'll be looking forward to your greatest hits album - or maybe even one hit song.


With all due respect, you're a flaming idiot, chrome horse. If you've read the thread as you claim to have done, you might recall that I have no interest in writing an album comprised of stolen music. In fact, I don't play music at all (and have furthermore never harboured any grand desire to learn how), so your desperate and childish proclamations of jealousy on my part hold precisely no weight. What is it with losers in internet debates, anyhow? The minute you're presented with an argument you can't even begin to refute, you either resurt to insult-hurling or pure projection. Absolutely pathetic, mate.

Nice use of "doubters," by the way. What, Dylan is a religious figure now? I guess fandom really IS an all-or-nothing proposition for some of the dittoheads around here. Unbelievable.

P.S., Your comment regarding Pollack was arch and self-congratulatory in the context in which it was issued. I'm sure you thought it was witty, though. I guess that's what matters.


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 07:30 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 22nd, 2009, 03:33 GMT
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MMD wrote:
sphinx wrote:
Hey, I just like pointing out the stark, raving idiocy of defending a credit that reads "lyrics and music by Bob Dylan" when it's clearly a f*cking lie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMo5bJzLcCE


So, Working-Artist, your theory is that Dylan and company conspired to steal the music of Houston Turner's "Uncle John's Bongos" because he, "the old man" and his band are bereft of ideas?


I'm sure you'll be crushed to find out that I have no theory. What concerns me is that the theft is readily apparent; the music is literally (not virtually) identical to an extant piece, and Dylan has claimed authorship of it. This isn't rocket science, Mr. Wizard.

Dylan may or may not have been bereft of ideas when he headed into the studio to record; none of us can claim with any certainty that this was the case, so it's a moot point. In the interest of honest appraisal, however, I feel compelled to point out that the cut-and-paste, whole-cloth thievery that has informed the last decade of his output began with L&T and hasn't significantly abated in the intervening years. This makes a strong case that Dylan has indeed run out of things to say, creatively speaking. Of course, the most damning evidence to this effect is MT, which can barely be considered an album of Dylan originals.

Perhaps he subconsciously remembered every note and every part that comprises the song and imparted it to his band with sterling clarity, convinced it was an original composition that arrived in his mind fully incubated. And perhaps none of his seasoned sidemen recognized it for what it was. Of course, the very idea that this was the case is even worse than a joke; it's simply stupidity in its most desperate form.

Quote:
1. You can't imagine that there might be something non-conspiratorial going on there? I read here that you don't believe in the "folk process."


Actually, no, I'm afraid you didn't. It would behoove you to re-read my comments again, particularly the ones regarding my thoughts on the folk process. I said that it was not only quite real, but also a vital part of most all creative art. Where most Dylan fans are willing to close the book on that note, I'm really just getting started. I mentioned a few other things on this subject, including Dylan's own early songwriting exercises that made extensive use of the folk process as it is commonly recognized, and I also outlined the differences between above-board appropriation and cheap thievery.

What a shame that I now find myself having to defend comments I didn't even make. What a shambles this debate has become! I'm suddenly a defeated songwriter, a denier of the legitimacy of the folk process... am I a dinosaur, too? Batman? Perhaps a member of Bob's band? For f*ck's sake, guys, please try to stick to what we're actually talking about. If all you're interested in doing is cutting my nuts off, by all means, start a thread devoted to just that.

Quote:
Why is that? On his early albums, Dylan did much the same thing, taking tunes from older songs and then putting new words over them and the folk artists liked that. Guthrie did it. Your argument about the Yakuza novel was that the artist was living. Well, is it plagiarism if a fistful of lines from a novel about one thing are used in a different genre of art and in an entirely different context?


It's a dicey proposition, legally speaking. I will say this: if you don't believe that Yakuza's author could have settled out of court for a tidy sum had he so desired, you probably don't pay much attention to these sorts of disputes. Hey, remember when Bob sued Hootie for having used two lines from Idiot Wind followed by a line in which Dylan was not only named but also praised? That sure was nutty.

Quote:
2. Do you think that Houston Turner was the first person to put those notes in that order? You don't think that it's possible that there is a really long musical chain stretching back a long time where that music and that rhythm were passed down, appropriated, new words written on top of it, etc? If Houston Turner might not be the original author of that tune, what then? Maybe you can go spit bile and righteous indignation at his heirs. I suggest you spend some time tracking the history of that tune, first, though.


I honestly have idea what tune you're talking about. I have my suspicions, but I'll refrain from issuing a response to a half-imagined question and allow you to clarify.

Quote:
Then, I have this question: is your concern one of property rights (that is, a legal and economic concern)? I mean, are you trying to protect the right to own ideas of Houston Smith (for example)? Is this a highly emotional defense of capitalism?


Questions of authorship are important, and if the author of a piece is being duped out of due credit, this is worrying. It's doubly worrying when fans of the artist responsible for the theft are bending over backwards in an attempt to defend said theft. (And if you doubt this is happening, consider for just a moment the frequency with which we've seen the following self-righteous argument: "whether the music was stolen doesn't matter because I find Dylan's take interesting and rewarding." By that same token, I suppose it's not quite a crime if I go out and rob a bank, since the end result will net me a lot of money that I'll put to good use.) If the author is alive, the very least he is due is consultation and credit. The logical first step is to approach the author and ask, "I'm a big fan of your song and I'd like to use it as the foundation for a set of lyrics I'm writing. Of course I'll credit you. Is that okay?" The author might say yes, happy to be remembered. He might request payment, to which he is entitled if ownership of the music in question is his. If the author is no longer living, then his publishing company, heirs, etc., should be consulted in his stead.

What concerns me most is that Dylan showed tremendous disrespect by effectively thumbing his nose at Gene Austin, Jack and Johnny, Big Joe Turner, et al., where their songs were concerned. Compensation certainly has something to do with this slight, but it's not my primary concern. Theft is not about money alone; it's about ownership, and also, in this case, authorship. To say that Bob Dylan "wrote" and "owns" Someday Baby or Tweedles is laughable on its face. It's worse than that; it's an insult.

You already know this.

Quote:
Or is your rage moral indignation (and don't act like it's not rage, your rhetoric is way too over heated for you to pretend that you are dispassionately arguing)? Is it that Dylan did not credit Turner and so lied?


More or less, yes.

Quote:
Looking forward to your answers.


Hope I didn't disappoint.


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 07:57 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 22nd, 2009, 03:33 GMT
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Popped back in to add that I just realized that you were referring to Johnny and Jack's song when you were asking me about Houston Turner. The song is theirs, but I posted Turner's version because it was the only one a cursory YouTube search offered. If you can believe it, the original sounds even more like Tweedle Dee than Turner's does! It'd almost be funny, if it weren't so disappointing.

At any rate, to answer your question, no, of course Houston Turner wasn't the first person to arrange those notes in those sequence; Johnny and Jack were (nyuk nyuk nyuk). We aren't talking about basic chords here. We're not even talking about just notes. The songs are musically identical. The key, the time signature, the bloody solo! They are the same song. That you would even consider disputing this is an appalling waste of everybody's time.


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 08:01 GMT 
First I'd like to say that the comment about Pollack was spot on. People can look at his work and say it's easy, anyone can do it, but that's because they're essentially clueless about what makes a work of art work. It's not just random paint. Making a work that resonates with people, like Pollack and like Dylan, is a mysterious art. You say you could put together something as marvelously potent as Modern Times, but you couldn't, because so very few people have that knack of putting it together, making it all work. When I listen to Modern Times it speaks to my heart. And nothing anyone says can take that from me or deny the truth of that reaction.

Part of this discussion reminds of the movie Finding Forester. Forester gives the boy an article he wrote years ago and tells him to start by copying it - until he has something to say. The kid copies the title and one paragraph and then writes his own, very original, story. He then makes the mistake of turning it in and can't say where it came from (which is how they get the overly dramatic confrontation at the end of the movie). The point is, what he wrote was original. The previous article was just a starting point, an inspiration. If he would have acknowledged the source, all would have been well with his professors and their academic world.

That exercise, btw, is similar to ones I've done in Creative Writing classes. In one class, I wrote a short piece describing a real life incident that I had witnessed years earlier. Everyone thought it was funny and then teacher asked, can I use that? Which startled me. I mean I was there... it was my story right? But in fact, I could never incorporate that into a larger context where it would be more than just a funny incident. Which is what a real artists do. Take this and that and make a greater whole.


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 10:14 GMT 
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sphinx wrote:
Popped back in to add that I just realized that you were referring to Johnny and Jack's song when you were asking me about Houston Turner. The song is theirs, but I posted Turner's version because it was the only one a cursory YouTube search offered. If you can believe it, the original sounds even more like Tweedle Dee than Turner's does! It'd almost be funny, if it weren't so disappointing.

At any rate, to answer your question, no, of course Houston Turner wasn't the first person to arrange those notes in those sequence; Johnny and Jack were (nyuk nyuk nyuk). We aren't talking about basic chords here. We're not even talking about just notes. The songs are musically identical. The key, the time signature, the bloody solo! They are the same song. That you would even consider disputing this is an appalling waste of everybody's time.


So, here's the thing, sphinx: this is a worthy discussion, but you are such a caustic, petulant jerk at times that what ought to be a good debate or discussion (one in which you might be right) devolves into a fight about the way you address people. I'll bet you dollars to donuts that if you simply dropped lines like the last one in your post quoted above you'd get less vitriol in response and the threads would be better.

Maybe you like the fighting more than the ideas you are discussing, I don't know.


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 11:02 GMT 
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sphinx wrote:
Popped back in to add that I just realized that you were referring to Johnny and Jack's song when you were asking me about Houston Turner. The song is theirs, but I posted Turner's version because it was the only one a cursory YouTube search offered. If you can believe it, the original sounds even more like Tweedle Dee than Turner's does! It'd almost be funny, if it weren't so disappointing.

At any rate, to answer your question, no, of course Houston Turner wasn't the first person to arrange those notes in those sequence; Johnny and Jack were (nyuk nyuk nyuk). We aren't talking about basic chords here. We're not even talking about just notes. The songs are musically identical. The key, the time signature, the bloody solo! They are the same song. That you would even consider disputing this is an appalling waste of everybody's time.


Now let me try getting at the substance of your post.

I think Masters of War is a new set of lyrics over an old tune. I am not a scholar of folk music, but here is a discussion (http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Masters_of_War) that gets at the music for the song, though I can't be sure it is accurate. It seems that Dylan took this tune and wrote new lyrics over it. That can't be the only other time he has done this prior to Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. The site I linked to suggests there was controversy about Masters of War -- another artist wanted a writing credit for the arrangement of the traditional song Dylan used.

This seems like a good analog for Tweedle Dee.

I'll set aside the issue of whether this is theft for a moment. Instead, what I'll dispute first is your claim that his use of the music in Tweedle Dee is evidence that Dylan is creatively bankrupt. If you think it is, then the same might be said of his earliest albums that show Dylan taking traditional tunes and putting to lyrics over them. Now, I really like the lyrics on Love and Theft. I think Floater, Mississippi, Po' Boy are great lyrics. I think there are lyrics from the past decade that are far better, to my mind, than any of his earlier work. I, in fact, much prefer some of the lyrics on LT to the surrealist, automatic writing of the mid 60s.

Now, I think it is pretty clear that Dylan took the music for Tweedle Dee wholesale. That he did not credit the music to one of the earlier sources might be legally problematic (I don't know what the copyright status of either of the versions you mentioned is). But other songs (Someday baby, eg) that you suggest are also stolen seem more like odd kinds of covers. I have a version by Lightnin' Hopkins of Someday Baby that is similar to the one on LT. Rollin' and Tumblin' is another like that. I wonder whether the idea is that they are essentially traditional songs (do we know the original version of song x?) and that having made lyrical changes, Dylan claims that version as his own... I don't know. But it doesn't strike me as a conspiracy to claim he was the first to pen the song. Rather it strikes me that the fact that it's a version of a classic or traditional gem is assumed. Now, I haven't done the leg work to know whether there is an estate to which Dylan ought to pay royalties for songs like Rollin' and Tumblin' -- would he have to find the first version? What if teh first version had become public domain...?

As for the use of lines from the Yakuza novel...I have absolutely no sympathy for your position here. Dylan has taken lines and put them in a new context, in a different genre, they aren't serving the same purpose, and many of the lines are altered. I think that qualifies as neither a copyright violation nor a legal, but immoral, theft. I think it's allusion, a writing technique... He's not a college student writing a term paper. It's not the same exercise. Songs don't come with footnotes and the fact that there is a line from a tv show, 5 lines from a Pynchon novel, whatever, is what makes listening to Dylan enjoyable to me...its a question of enjoying the play of meaning resulting from the allusion.

But...the point of the thread was to call into question the dominant conception of authorship itself...including the economic idea of copyright. I think one of the points LJ was getting at was that the claim to own an idea, a melody, a phrase is a recent invention and an peculiar one.

You treat the idea of private property in ideas as self-evidently valid, so much so that you seem to not deal with it as a legal-economic ideas but instead as a moral one. You replied to one of my questions that, yes, essentially, your ire was grounded in the fact that Dylan lied (about the source of the music for Tweedle Dee).

What about the idea that private property is immoral? There's quite a long history to that debate you know.

But, I think a good question, one that doesn't require rejecting private property altogether, would have to do with the limits of the right to own an idea, the limits of intellectual property.

Owning some iteration of a 12 bar blues, of a pentatonic scale solo, of the line "Last night the wind was whispering something/ I was trying to make out what it was" seems a but extreme.

Is the claim by biotech companies to copyright DNA sequences they were the first to map out using their expensive to build and program machinery also a valid claim to intellectual property?

How about this, see if you can respond without being rude. I'll tone down the rhetoric if you will.

And then there is, in LJs original post and in some of the replies, an opening toward postmodern (just as a shorthand term) theories that reject the idea of 'The Author," dissolving it into an 'author function' that operates in a structure, or within certain social forces, etc. These theories are often tied to Marxist historical and materialist critique.

There was quite a broad and unconventional discussion (for this website, at least since I've arrived) getting started way back when.

MMD


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 11:09 GMT 

Joined: Sun May 10th, 2009, 09:40 GMT
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sphinx wrote:
The songs are musically identical. The key, the time signature, the bloody solo! They are the same song. That you would even consider disputing this is an appalling waste of everybody's time.


It's not the same song because it's Dylan singing there.
I don't bother to check out the "original"? (who cares), but what's more familiar is Rollin and tumblin:
To me Dylans Modern Time version sounds completely different compared to Muddys versions which I have heard.
So what means "note to note" (if they even are)?

And BTW who's wasting whos time?


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 12:23 GMT 

Joined: Mon January 8th, 2007, 19:59 GMT
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I really don't like the term "folk process". This is often enough an excuse for plagiarism. Bob Dylan is no "Folk musician", he's a professional songwriter. What's the difference between a songwriter and a Folk musician? A professional songwriter takes bits and pieces from other songs and sources, writes a new song around it and claims it's his own. A Folk musician takes bits and pieces from other songs and sources, writes a new song around it and claims it's an ancient traditional (because it makes him feel better if he's singing an "old" song instead of a mundane Pop song). The writing techniques of "Folk"-musicians like Ewan McColl or A.L. Lloyd were as fraudulent as Dylan's.

And I also don't understand all this indignation about "Tweedle Dee..." or about "Rollin' And Tumblin'". Dylan has lifted complete melodies from other songs since the start of his career. Should I really list them all? "With God On Our Side", "To Ramona", "Masters Of War", "Bob Dylan's Dream", "Oxford Town", "Hollis Brown", "Farewell Angelina", "Obviously 5 Believers", "Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat", , "Frankie Lee", "I Pity The Poor Immigrant" etc etc And there are even more songs that are derived from or based on other songs, from "Blowin'" to "Chimes Of Freedom", from "Don't Think Twice" to "North Country Blues".

I must admit I've grown very critical of Dylan's writing techniques. It's not a problem that he borrows from other songs but how he does it. Often enough I think it was simply laziness. I've done some research about Irving Berlin's songs. He also borrowed a lot but never lifted complete melodies. instead he usually integrated little allusions to other sources that always gave his songs an additional dimension. Compared to Berlin Dylan's techniques are often really clumsy. I found an interesting quote by musicologist Charles Hamm about Berlin:

[...] Berlin, more effectively than any of his peers, drew on the collective knowledge and memory of his audience to fashion dramatic situations and musical phrases similar to those found in songs they already knew, [but] shaped in slightly unexpected ways. His best songs were almost - but not quite - already known to his listeners when heard for the first time. They were old stories with a new twist"

Is this true of Dylan, too?


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 16:54 GMT 

Joined: Fri October 26th, 2007, 00:49 GMT
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sphinx wrote:
What is it with losers in internet debates, anyhow? The minute you're presented with an argument you can't even begin to refute, you either resurt to insult-hurling or pure projection.


Your complaining about personal attacks is absolutely ridiculous. You're the most persistently mean-spirited poster on this site. You're sore that other people resort to name-calling throughout the course of discussion with you, yet you begin nearly all of your arguments with insults. It's difficult for anyone to maintain civility when discussing anything with you because you're completely intolerant of opposing viewpoints.


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 17:21 GMT 
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BuilderofRainbows wrote:
sphinx wrote:
What is it with losers in internet debates, anyhow? The minute you're presented with an argument you can't even begin to refute, you either resurt to insult-hurling or pure projection.


Your complaining about personal attacks is absolutely ridiculous. You're the most persistently mean-spirited poster on this site. You're sore that other people resort to name-calling throughout the course of discussion with you, yet you begin nearly all of your arguments with insults. It's difficult for anyone to maintain civility when discussing anything with you because you're completely intolerant of opposing viewpoints.


BUSTED! :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 17:29 GMT 
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MMD wrote:
sphinx wrote:
Popped back in to add that I just realized that you were referring to Johnny and Jack's song when you were asking me about Houston Turner. The song is theirs, but I posted Turner's version because it was the only one a cursory YouTube search offered. If you can believe it, the original sounds even more like Tweedle Dee than Turner's does! It'd almost be funny, if it weren't so disappointing.

At any rate, to answer your question, no, of course Houston Turner wasn't the first person to arrange those notes in those sequence; Johnny and Jack were (nyuk nyuk nyuk). We aren't talking about basic chords here. We're not even talking about just notes. The songs are musically identical. The key, the time signature, the bloody solo! They are the same song. That you would even consider disputing this is an appalling waste of everybody's time.


Now let me try getting at the substance of your post.

I think Masters of War is a new set of lyrics over an old tune. I am not a scholar of folk music, but here is a discussion (http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Masters_of_War) that gets at the music for the song, though I can't be sure it is accurate. It seems that Dylan took this tune and wrote new lyrics over it. That can't be the only other time he has done this prior to Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. The site I linked to suggests there was controversy about Masters of War -- another artist wanted a writing credit for the arrangement of the traditional song Dylan used.

This seems like a good analog for Tweedle Dee.

I'll set aside the issue of whether this is theft for a moment. Instead, what I'll dispute first is your claim that his use of the music in Tweedle Dee is evidence that Dylan is creatively bankrupt. If you think it is, then the same might be said of his earliest albums that show Dylan taking traditional tunes and putting to lyrics over them. Now, I really like the lyrics on Love and Theft. I think Floater, Mississippi, Po' Boy are great lyrics. I think there are lyrics from the past decade that are far better, to my mind, than any of his earlier work. I, in fact, much prefer some of the lyrics on LT to the surrealist, automatic writing of the mid 60s.

Now, I think it is pretty clear that Dylan took the music for Tweedle Dee wholesale. That he did not credit the music to one of the earlier sources might be legally problematic (I don't know what the copyright status of either of the versions you mentioned is). But other songs (Someday baby, eg) that you suggest are also stolen seem more like odd kinds of covers. I have a version by Lightnin' Hopkins of Someday Baby that is similar to the one on LT. Rollin' and Tumblin' is another like that. I wonder whether the idea is that they are essentially traditional songs (do we know the original version of song x?) and that having made lyrical changes, Dylan claims that version as his own... I don't know. But it doesn't strike me as a conspiracy to claim he was the first to pen the song. Rather it strikes me that the fact that it's a version of a classic or traditional gem is assumed. Now, I haven't done the leg work to know whether there is an estate to which Dylan ought to pay royalties for songs like Rollin' and Tumblin' -- would he have to find the first version? What if teh first version had become public domain...?

As for the use of lines from the Yakuza novel...I have absolutely no sympathy for your position here. Dylan has taken lines and put them in a new context, in a different genre, they aren't serving the same purpose, and many of the lines are altered. I think that qualifies as neither a copyright violation nor a legal, but immoral, theft. I think it's allusion, a writing technique... He's not a college student writing a term paper. It's not the same exercise. Songs don't come with footnotes and the fact that there is a line from a tv show, 5 lines from a Pynchon novel, whatever, is what makes listening to Dylan enjoyable to me...its a question of enjoying the play of meaning resulting from the allusion.

But...the point of the thread was to call into question the dominant conception of authorship itself...including the economic idea of copyright. I think one of the points LJ was getting at was that the claim to own an idea, a melody, a phrase is a recent invention and an peculiar one.

You treat the idea of private property in ideas as self-evidently valid, so much so that you seem to not deal with it as a legal-economic ideas but instead as a moral one. You replied to one of my questions that, yes, essentially, your ire was grounded in the fact that Dylan lied (about the source of the music for Tweedle Dee).

What about the idea that private property is immoral? There's quite a long history to that debate you know.

But, I think a good question, one that doesn't require rejecting private property altogether, would have to do with the limits of the right to own an idea, the limits of intellectual property.

Owning some iteration of a 12 bar blues, of a pentatonic scale solo, of the line "Last night the wind was whispering something/ I was trying to make out what it was" seems a but extreme.

Is the claim by biotech companies to copyright DNA sequences they were the first to map out using their expensive to build and program machinery also a valid claim to intellectual property?

How about this, see if you can respond without being rude. I'll tone down the rhetoric if you will.

And then there is, in LJs original post and in some of the replies, an opening toward postmodern (just as a shorthand term) theories that reject the idea of 'The Author," dissolving it into an 'author function' that operates in a structure, or within certain social forces, etc. These theories are often tied to Marxist historical and materialist critique.

There was quite a broad and unconventional discussion (for this website, at least since I've arrived) getting started way back when.

MMD


Very excellent summary and response, thanks. It is a shame that the discussion of unchallenged assumptions got derailed by a set of unchallenged assumptions.


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 18:30 GMT 

Joined: Fri January 2nd, 2009, 22:23 GMT
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I have always liked Johnny Cash´s back cover notes on Nashville Skyline. Today I was reading them again and a verse struck me as pertinent to this debate:
"There are those who do not imitate,
Who cannot imitate
But then there are those who emulate
At times, to expand further the light
Of an original glow...."

I think what Dylan is doing with this songs is changing them and making them their own. Sure, you can say that he "stole" the music to Tweedle Dee, but you can`t deny the fact that the lyrics are his own and therefore he did contribute something to the song and this is the fact that, in my opinion, matters the most.


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 19:03 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 22nd, 2009, 03:33 GMT
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MMD wrote:
I think Masters of War is a new set of lyrics over an old tune. I am not a scholar of folk music, but here is a discussion (http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Masters_of_War) that gets at the music for the song, though I can't be sure it is accurate. It seems that Dylan took this tune and wrote new lyrics over it. That can't be the only other time he has done this prior to Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. The site I linked to suggests there was controversy about Masters of War -- another artist wanted a writing credit for the arrangement of the traditional song Dylan used.


Perhaps the most important difference between Dylan's adaptation of Nottamun Town and his wholesale appropriation of a song like Uncle John's Bongos, is that the former is a traditional song whereas the latter is a popular song. There is a distinction here, and it's not so very fine; traditional songs are works whose authorship is unclear and are transmitted primarily through oral tradition, whereas popular songs are modern, traceable and generally all the things that traditional songs are not. Traditional songs evolve over time, incorporating new lyrics and musical flourishes while straying ever further from their source. (I have a folder in my hard drive containing over 125 iterations of Froggie Went a-Courtin', so the idea that I am somehow intolerant of the folk process makes me chuckle.) Popular songs have authors; we know who wrote them, we can listen to actual recordings of their earliest known versions and so on.

Perhaps the second most important difference is that the dispute over Dylan's incorporation of Nottamun Town into Masters of War was over a mere arrangement credited to Jean Ritchie. Ritchie was paid $5,000 in settlement money with a proviso that she shut up in perpetuity and stop complaining about how she'd been stolen from. Taking into account that authorship over a single uncredited arragement of a traditional song can prove this nettlesome, Dylan's lack of willingness to credit popular songwriters for their towering contributions to his songs seems even more egregious and ill-advised to me.

And finally, I must say that I have never heard any version of Nottamun Town that bears more than a passing resemblance to Dylan's Masters of War. Yes, the chords are similar, but the half-dozen or so versions I've heard of the older song are appreciably different to Dylan's classic. The same simply cannot be said about Dylan's appropriations in the '00s.

This conversation is far more nuanced than some participants seem ready to admit. Simply papering over Dylan's abuse of modern songwriters with a big fluorescent sign reading "FOLK PROCESS A-OK" or "I LIKE IT, SO IT'S ALL GOOD" seems inexcusably lazy and apologetic to me. You are fans of Bob Dylan; you should not have to grovel at his feet. If I'm angry, as some have claimed, I'm angry because of the staggering intellectual dishonesty and blatant hero worship that has polluted so much of this discussion. When Bob Dylan's genius at synthesis is being held up as a self-evident defense of his theft, it's past time for everybody to take a step back and re-evaluate the legitimacy of certain claims that are being made by various parties.

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This seems like a good analog for Tweedle Dee.


I don't believe it is, for reasons outlined above.

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I'll set aside the issue of whether this is theft for a moment. Instead, what I'll dispute first is your claim that his use of the music in Tweedle Dee is evidence that Dylan is creatively bankrupt. If you think it is, then the same might be said of his earliest albums that show Dylan taking traditional tunes and putting to lyrics over them.


Dylan was a young folk artist finding his way into writing through his influences. He's claimed in interviews that the only reason he ever toyed with writing his own songs is because nobody was writing the kinds of songs he was interested in performing. Dylan's early work was derivative, but the only wholesale lift I can think of offhand is Song to Woody, which happens to be the very first original song appearing on any Dylan album. Dylan's early work was also built around fairly typical fingerpicked acoustic drones; simple patterns that are easily confused to begin with, and often cross paths with passages from other songs for several notes at a stretch. I'm not excusing Dylan's lack of originality, I'm simply pointing out that few artists burst onto the scene in full bloom. "You've gotta start somewhere," as Jon Brion once sang. As Dylan moved away from composing songs that owed a tremendous debt to traditional folk, the frequency with which swipes cropped up in his worked dropped to nil. For years, even. Enter the '00s. Quite a different story, wouldn't you say? I guess everything old is new again.

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Now, I really like the lyrics on Love and Theft. I think Floater, Mississippi, Po' Boy are great lyrics. I think there are lyrics from the past decade that are far better, to my mind, than any of his earlier work. I, in fact, much prefer some of the lyrics on LT to the surrealist, automatic writing of the mid 60s.


Then I'm afraid we really won't be able to discuss much on this front, since I think Dylan's '60s output will outlast his current songs by centuries. He's written some very decent songs in this decade, granted, but the best of them are not fit to stand with the majority of his '60s output. The language is simpler, less singular and ultimately conveys less than the language of Dylan's best known masterpieces. The music is timid and safe, the phrasing damaged and clipped. By most objective measures, Dylan in the '00s is a safe bet, not significantly more brilliant than the majority of his contemporaries.

(And that's fine, I should hasten to add. I don't expect him to be a genius all the time, and I'm sure he isn't the sort of artist who bows to outside pressures generated by fans and critics. I'm not offended by an album like Down in the Groove, nor do I feel slighted by its musical and thematic cousin, Modern Times. They are simply not very good albums that Dylan made while on autopilot. He's made plenty of records that are actually worth listening to, so he's more than welcome to crap out a lousy album periodically if it pleases him to breeze through one in the studio.)

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Now, I think it is pretty clear that Dylan took the music for Tweedle Dee wholesale. That he did not credit the music to one of the earlier sources might be legally problematic (I don't know what the copyright status of either of the versions you mentioned is).


Neither do I, but I have established that this is a secondary concern at best. This is primarily a moral issue; Dylan took something that did not belong to him without permission. A child of five knows better than to do this. Would that he had you and Long Johnny to defend him! "All he did was take a candy bar from the counter of the convenience store without paying for it! Kids have been doing this since the dawn of time. Builds character! The candy bar process, I call it. Plus, candy makes him happy, and that makes me feel good. No harm, no foul, whattaya say?!"

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But other songs (Someday baby, eg) that you suggest are also stolen seem more like odd kinds of covers. I have a version by Lightnin' Hopkins of Someday Baby that is similar to the one on LT. Rollin' and Tumblin' is another like that. I wonder whether the idea is that they are essentially traditional songs (do we know the original version of song x?) and that having made lyrical changes, Dylan claims that version as his own... I don't know.


I will concede that the folk process is at work throughout much of Modern Times, but I'm still not comfortable with a lot of the decisions Dylan made concerning credit. Someday Baby is an almost note-perfect recreation of Trouble No More, a song written by Muddy Waters that was in turn based on Sleepy John Estes' Someday Baby Blues. Muddy basically took a country blues from the '30s and turned it into an electric Chicago blues, and while I am unsure of what documented role Muddy played in the authorship of the song, I know that he openly acknowledged his source on numerous occasions.

(You can listen to Sleepy John's song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzziLiALsug
and Muddy's here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyVoVKNlFSc)

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But it doesn't strike me as a conspiracy to claim he was the first to pen the song. Rather it strikes me that the fact that it's a version of a classic or traditional gem is assumed. Now, I haven't done the leg work to know whether there is an estate to which Dylan ought to pay royalties for songs like Rollin' and Tumblin' -- would he have to find the first version? What if teh first version had become public domain...?


Then it represents even fewer hoops for Dylan and his people to have to jump through. It literally becomes as simple as affixing a credit to the liner notes. Why is this an issue? Dylan finally smartened the hell up and credited Willie Dixon on Together Through Life; why didn't he do it sooner? I suspect there is more to this story from a legal shot than we're likely to ever know.

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As for the use of lines from the Yakuza novel...I have absolutely no sympathy for your position here. Dylan has taken lines and put them in a new context, in a different genre, they aren't serving the same purpose, and many of the lines are altered. I think that qualifies as neither a copyright violation nor a legal, but immoral, theft. I think it's allusion, a writing technique... He's not a college student writing a term paper. It's not the same exercise. Songs don't come with footnotes and the fact that there is a line from a tv show, 5 lines from a Pynchon novel, whatever, is what makes listening to Dylan enjoyable to me...its a question of enjoying the play of meaning resulting from the allusion.


Frequency has a part to play here, not just the basic fact of Dylan's synthesis. He has cleverly appropriated lines in the past, perhaps nost notably on Knocked Out Loaded, but the frequency with which he has cobbled together songs based on the works of, say, Henry Timrod virtually defies belief. You can comb through nearly every song Dylan released in the wake of L&T and find at least a few chestnuts by the poet laureate of the American Civil War squirreled away for the winter. It would have been clever had he done it once, twice, or even five times. But dozens of times? I ask you with a straight face, sir, where is the value in this?

This presents a particular problem for those of us who believe that Modern Times is one of Dylan's weakest studio sets (and we are legion, I assure you, in spite of the baffling praise generally associated with the album); the lyrics are in fact terrible, protestations from the faithful notwithstanding. When Scott Warmuth brought the similarities between Dylan's album and Timrod's works to the attention of the general listenership, I remember being amused at first ("Oh, that scamp, he's at it again!"), then disappointed as more and more references surfaced ("Jesus, seriously? I guess maybe this is a kind of perverse response to the Yakuza incident..."), and finally sort of aghast when the full spectrum of Dylan's theft at last stood revealed ("Wow. It's really come to this."). What was a wan set of barrel-scraping lyrics to begin with was further diminished, not enhanced, by this finding.

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But...the point of the thread was to call into question the dominant conception of authorship itself...including the economic idea of copyright. I think one of the points LJ was getting at was that the claim to own an idea, a melody, a phrase is a recent invention and an peculiar one.


You have clearly never had to earn your living from the creation and marketing of intellectual property. There is nothing peculiar about the act of creation, the extraordinary hard work that goes into making a consumable product, or the nature of the rewards that follow from such pursuits. Your ponderous line of questioning reminds me of nothing so much as a talentless 20 year-old musician who accuses his successful contemporaries of being "sell-outs" for simply having worked hard to cultivate appreciable talent that appeals to a certain audience. "It should be about the music, man, not the money." Art takes time, and worthwhile art commands recompense.

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You treat the idea of private property in ideas as self-evidently valid, so much so that you seem to not deal with it as a legal-economic ideas but instead as a moral one. You replied to one of my questions that, yes, essentially, your ire was grounded in the fact that Dylan lied (about the source of the music for Tweedle Dee).

What about the idea that private property is immoral? There's quite a long history to that debate you know.


I'm sorry, but I really don't have the wherewithal to apply Marxist principles to the world of art. I'm sure some might find it an interesting conversation, but frankly I don't, nor do I see how it applies directly to the discussion we're having. Perhaps Bob Dylan doesn't believe in ownership of art - oh, right. He sued Hootie for using two lines from one of his songs in a piece that references him by name. We can safely conclude that Dylan and his legal team are concerned with issues of ownership.

(Hey, if it assuages your conscience any, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool social democrat, although I tend to break with the conventional left in my staunch defense of capitalist principles and in my support for the war on terror - which, as a true and unapologetic progressive, I regard as a war against groundless superstition and intolerably barbaric primitivism. The irony of ironies is that most North Americans who are passionate about this struggle tend to be religious themselves; the enemy of my enemy is my friend, as the saying goes.)

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But, I think a good question, one that doesn't require rejecting private property altogether, would have to do with the limits of the right to own an idea, the limits of intellectual property.

Owning some iteration of a 12 bar blues, of a pentatonic scale solo, of the line "Last night the wind was whispering something/ I was trying to make out what it was" seems a but extreme.


There are laws affecting this sort of appropriation, but they're often sensitive to interpretation and difficult to navigate. For the record, I would not cite the appropriation of a 12-bar blues, a pentatonic scale solo, or the line "Last night the wind etc." as examples of theft, but rather fine examples of the legitimate folk process at work.

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Is the claim by biotech companies to copyright DNA sequences they were the first to map out using their expensive to build and program machinery also a valid claim to intellectual property?


The sequences exist independent of the machinery, so no, this seems rather open-and-shut to me. Most importantly, DNA is nothing like an invention or creation. This sort of thing is nothing more than a fantastic example of what happens to unfettered capitalism when it's given too long a leash by irresponsible governments.

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How about this, see if you can respond without being rude. I'll tone down the rhetoric if you will.


How's my driving?


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 19:37 GMT 
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sphinx, the only thing you've made clear is that it's all about you. "How's my driving?"???? Are you kidding? Throw him a fish.



Woody Guthrie used the tune of an old song for "This Land is Your Land" - by far his most famous song, but I don't hear any complaints about that.


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 19:40 GMT 
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chrome horse wrote:
sphinx, the only thing you've made clear is that it's all about you. "How's my driving?"???? Are you kidding? Throw him a fish.

Woody Guthrie used the tune of an old song for "This Land is Your Land" - by far his most famous song, but I don't hear any complaints about that.


BUSTED! :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 20:23 GMT 
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Sorry about the quote structure here. The site's quoting system got to be unwieldy, so I went with my own version.

MMD wrote::
But...the point of the thread was to call into question the dominant conception of authorship itself...including the economic idea of copyright. I think one of the points LJ was getting at was that the claim to own an idea, a melody, a phrase is a recent invention and an peculiar one.

sphinx wrote:
You have clearly never had to earn your living from the creation and marketing of intellectual property. There is nothing peculiar about the act of creation, the extraordinary hard work that goes into making a consumable product, or the nature of the rewards that follow from such pursuits. Your ponderous line of questioning reminds me of nothing so much as a talentless 20 year-old musician who accuses his successful contemporaries of being "sell-outs" for simply having worked hard to cultivate appreciable talent that appeals to a certain audience. "It should be about the music, man, not the money." Art takes time, and worthwhile art commands recompense.

MMD's reply:
Well, you were doing ok until about here. I mean I disagree with some of what you've said before this, but here you slide off into the defensive invective that seems to keep you warm. First of all, I don't see how it's obvious that I've never done...well...whatever. Second, there is something peculiar about the act of creation. And, then, what was meant to be in question here is the very nature of 'creation' and ownership. You are working from, it seems to me, the baseline Lockean notion of private property that pervades Anglo-American life: I worked on it so I own it (appropriation through labor). Again, the debate about the morality of that position is long and important. Unless you are saying that you (or, rather, The Working-Artist) invents out of pure genius and the ether, then you are saying all creation is appropriation. If you are making the genius argument, well then you need to think some more about that issue because it doesn't stand up to scrutiny. If you are saying that the artist gets to lay claim to something because they work hard on it and bring to bear their own talents, then we are talking about a matter of degrees with regard to creation and the theft. No one begrudges you the fruits of your labors, little red hen, but I do like how you refer to your creations as consumable products. That's precious.

MMD wrote::
You treat the idea of private property in ideas as self-evidently valid, so much so that you seem to not deal with it as a legal-economic ideas but instead as a moral one. You replied to one of my questions that, yes, essentially, your ire was grounded in the fact that Dylan lied (about the source of the music for Tweedle Dee).

What about the idea that private property is immoral? There's quite a long history to that debate you know.

sphinx wrote::
I'm sorry, but I really don't have the wherewithal to apply Marxist principles to the world of art. I'm sure some might find it an interesting conversation, but frankly I don't, nor do I see how it applies directly to the discussion we're having. Perhaps Bob Dylan doesn't believe in ownership of art - oh, right. He sued Hootie for using two lines from one of his songs in a piece that references him by name. We can safely conclude that Dylan and his legal team are concerned with issues of ownership.

(Hey, if it assuages your conscience any, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool social democrat, although I tend to break with the conventional left in my staunch defense of capitalist principles and in my support for the war on terror - which, as a true and unapologetic progressive, I regard as a war against groundless superstition and intolerably barbaric primitivism. The irony of ironies is that most North Americans who are passionate about this struggle tend to be religious themselves; the enemy of my enemy is my friend, as the saying goes.)

MMD's reply:
The reason you don't see the relevance of the critique of private property to the discussion we're having is that you are ignoring the discussion we were trying to have -- a critique of the idea of private property in ideas.

Dylan may or may not be a hypocrite with regard to copyright law. And that might be a good conversation. It would require sussing out his intentions in using other's ideas in his own work and the rationale for suing Hootie. I'm not sure how you do that here. But the idea was to have a broader discussion, to think about the idea of authorship itself, to think about that, perhaps, beyond Dylan's intention. That you find thinking more broadly "ponderous" is your problem. The existential threat to your status as Working-Artist (of "consumable products" ) seems to have crammed you into a solipsistic hole.

As for your incoherent political positions -- I think that is something for another thread. But I will note, because it is relevant here, that it seems you are a social democrat and a progressive just where it doesn't bear on your life in any direct way. So you are a social democrat who breaks from the socialist part of social democrat to defend your right to own what you think you own and to profit from it; to ignore the problems created by capitalist institutions like private property (in ideas to boot) and the critique of those institutions by....socialism. I am not going to touch the dotty "terrorism" thing because it is irrelevant to the already strained thread of this discussion. But, oh man, it's not easy to walk away from it...

And, your driving was at best spotty. See if you can take all the nasty comments out of your posts by reading the post when you are done writing. On the other hand, maybe you can't stop yourself.


Last edited by MMD on Sun January 3rd, 2010, 20:27 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 20:26 GMT 

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LJ has been reduced from one-note responses to one-word responses!

BUSTED! :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 20:53 GMT 
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Long Johnny wrote:

Very excellent summary and response, thanks. It is a shame that the discussion of unchallenged assumptions got derailed by a set of unchallenged assumptions.


Thanks, LJ. This (your original post) is a really good idea for a discussion thread. An interesting way of coming at ideas, as you said, implicit in a number of recent threads. Worth trying to salvage, I think.


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 22:05 GMT 

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MMD wrote:
MMD's reply:
Well, you were doing ok until about here. I mean I disagree with some of what you've said before this, but here you slide off into the defensive invective that seems to keep you warm. First of all, I don't see how it's obvious that I've never done...well...whatever. Second, there is something peculiar about the act of creation. And, then, what was meant to be in question here is the very nature of 'creation' and ownership. You are working from, it seems to me, the baseline Lockean notion of private property that pervades Anglo-American life: I worked on it so I own it (appropriation through labor). Again, the debate about the morality of that position is long and important. Unless you are saying that you (or, rather, The Working-Artist) invents out of pure genius and the ether, then you are saying all creation is appropriation.


I've said as much at least twice in the course of this discussion. This is certainly my position, and you're quite correct when you append this school of thought by saying:

Quote:
If you are saying that the artist gets to lay claim to something because they work hard on it and bring to bear their own talents, then we are talking about a matter of degrees with regard to creation and the theft


I like to think it's been at least somewhat obvious that this is what I've been arguing from the outset. At its core, all art is a reactionary expression, and this is especially true concerning pop art. I've taken exception to certain words you've used in your attempts to characterize my argument, chief among them "conspiratorial"; it's true that I feel Dylan has done his influences a disservice by denying them credit, but it's not true that I have ever insinuated that his motivation has involved any outright malice. Ego, perhaps. Laziness, almost certainly. A dearth of creativity is not out of the realm of possibility, as has been established. Nor is greed, unpleasant though it may be for some of us to consider.

Roy Lichtenstein once said, "I don't dislike the work that I'm parodying... The things that I have parodied I actually admire." I think we can agree that what Dylan does is significantly more earnest than parody, and I think it's clear that he values every song he has ever synthesized into his own work on a profound level; in fact, that's a large part of the reason why his selective reluctance to share credit irks me so. Why share credit with Dixon but not Johnny and Jack? Are Dylan's criteria as complex and unknowable as his most devotional followers suppose his muse to be?

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No one begrudges you the fruits of your labors, little red hen, but I do like how you refer to your creations as consumable products. That's precious.


Thanks! Likewise, I'm tremendously amused by your Marxist proclivities. They're fun.

Quote:
Dylan may or may not be a hypocrite with regard to copyright law. And that might be a good conversation. It would require sussing out his intentions in using other's ideas in his own work and the rationale for suing Hootie. I'm not sure how you do that here. But the idea was to have a broader discussion, to think about the idea of authorship itself, to think about that, perhaps, beyond Dylan's intention. That you find thinking more broadly "ponderous" is your problem. The existential threat to your status as Working-Artist (of "consumable products" ) seems to have crammed you into a solipsistic hole.


I'm afraid there are so many of them in this thread that I'm surprised each of us hasn't fallen into a different one yet. And I suppose I should expect this sort of rhetoric for having carelessly shown my hand so early in this little game.

Nevertheless, I feel compelled to remind you that I have in fact commented on the broader artistic implications of Dylan's theft; specifically, I've wondered what possible value an assortment of lines and phrases nicked from such a concentrated collection of sources might yield as part of a freshly minted work. The insertion of Timrod's poetry and Yakuza's prose into so many of Dylan's recent songs is curious on a number of levels. Modern Times, for example, is a relatively straightforward album that utilizes very direct musical styles and often simplistic language (by Dylan's usual standards) to convey its overarching theme of love-at-the-end-of-the-world.

Even if we take it for granted that there is no valid moral or legal objection to Dylan's appropriation, would any here among us not find his approach to writing the album conspicuous on a number of levels? The lines on loan from Timrod are neither overwhelmingly brilliant nor entirely pedestrian; most would agree that Dylan could have written something akin to the words he took without spraining anything. Some of them complement what appear to be Dylan's original contributions to the record, while others merely seem like so much lyrical quick-cement. So, if the end result isn't a particularly compelling exercise in synthesis, and the songs aren't particularly strong on their own merit, why then did Dylan bother to grandfather so many clipped phrases into his grandfatherly parlour tunes?

Yes, yes, I know, I know - Modern Times is a GREAT ALBUM (all caps!), not a huge turd, and I just don't get it (even though I'm more than passingly familiar with its creator, its musical styles, its textual references, et al). I understand that this is a convenient argument to justify the means when all you're really interested in discussing are the ends, so by all means, continue trotting that one out, guys. Just remember that not everybody is in love with Dylan's much-ballyhooed "late career renaissance" and some of us might be better equipped to analyze his puzzling relationship to his influences in the 21st Century from a truly objective shot.

Quote:
As for your incoherent political positions -- I think that is something for another thread.


I'm afraid there's nothing incoherent about them. If one professes to hold progressive ideals, one must be ready to confront the striking uselessness of the traditional left-right political spectrum in the 21st Century. If establishing and maintaining a free, egalitarian society is one's paramount goal, one must be willing to fight against theocrats whose organizing principle involves punishing apostasy with death, limiting rather than expanding the rights of women, and physically destroying the progressive ideals that pose the highest threat to their barbarous way of life. It's a rather obvious stance for any left-leaning individual to combat the toxic influence of organized religion on public life (and it pains me to say that no one religion is more potent in its toxicity than radicalized Islam), although most Western leftists are told that they cannot feel this way because of the increasingly lockstep nature of our politics. Politics, like art, is nuanced. I'm quite proud of not being an unthinking dittohead, thank you very much. If some leftists are unwilling or unable to defend the values of the Enlightenment because of political entrenchment, I am more than happy to step up to fill that gap (bloviating, intolerant solipsist that I happen to be).

Concerning matters economic, I've barely even alighted on them, which makes navigating this next bit somewhat like sprinting through a minefield...

Quote:
But I will note, because it is relevant here, that it seems you are a social democrat and a progressive just where it doesn't bear on your life in any direct way. So you are a social democrat who breaks from the socialist part of social democrat to defend your right to own what you think you own and to profit from it;


Most political parties with some configuration of the words "new" and "democrat" in their name hold similar values, I'm afraid. I'm not your civics teacher, so I won't condescend to you by pointing out that modern Western social democratic thought is not the same thing as orthodox Marxism. Also, you have no idea in what ways "the socialist part of social democrat" impacts my life, so a lot of what you're projecting here ends up being completely invalid. (Never forget what they say about projecting: when you go around doing it, you make a pro out of ject and ing! Er, waitaminnit, that's not right...)

If it matters to you, I'm a social democrat because I value commitments to social justice, intellectual prosperity, women's rights, environmentalism, and the erosion of racism and classism, not because I value things like economic determinism and the welfare state. I'm not a college student, for Christ's sake. Once again, the world is a pretty nuanced place; trying to slot people into various boxes is generally an exercise in reductivism, which can only lead to less and less constructive dialogue. And that don't solve nothin'.

Quote:
to ignore the problems created by capitalist institutions like private property (in ideas to boot) and the critique of those institutions by....socialism.


Orthodox socialism, sure. Would that I were an orthodox socialist!

Look, even if one has concerns about the very concept of ownership in any sphere, I feel I should point out that authorship is not quite the same thing. Surely nobody participating in this discussion has a problem with something as basic as due credit being received, or even shared (a la My Wife's Hometown)? Regardless of the extremity of one's political convictions, it seems we should be able to agree that a clear dividing line exists that separates authorship from ownership, and that authorship is something to be celebrated, not hidden away or driven out like some kind of demon. Just as unfettered capitalism is a frightening proposition, so too is unfettered socialism. The idea of subverting authorship shocks and frightens me on a fundamental level; it devalues the entirely unique talents and skills of the individual in question. I'm reminded of the DPRK, known also as the most insane totalitarian state in the history of human existence, in which the average citizen is little more than an apparatus of the state.

In a sense, this is a legal issue. In another, more important sense, it's a moral one. I'd also propose that it's an issue of good taste; how much appropriation is too much? When does it become a bad idea to pass off the work of another artist as your own? People in my line of work redraw extant published images with astonishing frequency. Deadlines must be met, and all that... Some compositions are clear homages, while others are just as clearly the result of somebody trying to rush a job out the door rather than do it well. Why should we not praise the former even as we criticise the latter? Blanket praise and blanket dismissal are equally stupid notions. Ultimately, we will never be able to reach a consensus view on this issue. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding; those who think Modern Times is brilliant will continue to cite Dylan's contextualizations as yet another aspect of that brilliance. Those of us who think it's a flaming piece of shit, well... not so much.

Quote:
I am not going to touch the dotty "terrorism" thing because it is irrelevant to the already strained thread of this discussion. But, oh man, it's not easy to walk away from it...


Feel free to redress my comments concerning destructive ideologies versus constructive ones in whatever manner pleases you best. Start a thread in the off-topic forum, if you'd like. I'll wander over there eventually to check it out.

Quote:
And, your driving was at best spotty. See if you can take all the nasty comments out of your posts by reading the post when you are done writing. On the other hand, maybe you can't stop yourself.


I suppose I should come clean at this point: I'm actually a non-driver. I'm a city boy who never had to learn. :oops:


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 22:52 GMT 
sphinx wrote:
LJ has been reduced from one-note responses to one-word responses!

BUSTED! :lol:


Sorry, you still lose. His "BUSTED" comments are serving the purpose of a succient nod of agreement with someone else statements. No more than one word was neccessary. Your comment on the other hand communicates nothing, except perhaps a childish attempt of tit for tat. Therefore, no bust. And certainly no lol.


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 23:05 GMT 
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dsavereide wrote:
sphinx wrote:
LJ has been reduced from one-note responses to one-word responses!

BUSTED! :lol:


Sorry, you still lose. His "BUSTED" comments are serving the purpose of a succient nod of agreement with someone else statements. No more than one word was neccessary. Your comment on the other hand communicates nothing, except perhaps a childish attempt of tit for tat. Therefore, no bust. And certainly no lol.


You are BUSTED!!! :lol:

[note the 200% increase in notes!]


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PostPosted: Sun January 3rd, 2010, 23:10 GMT 
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Joined: Mon August 31st, 2009, 00:16 GMT
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Well, sphinx, at least you are saying things are complicated now rather than so obvious that anyone who disagrees with you or approaches the issue of the thread differently is a fool or a liar.


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PostPosted: Mon January 4th, 2010, 12:15 GMT 
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Joined: Tue July 22nd, 2008, 11:45 GMT
Posts: 347
MMD wrote:
The idea that a person organically grows an idea, a song, a poem, an image in their soul, or is inspired by a magical power, a genni [...] is too laughable to be taken seriously and bears no scrutiny at all.


Why, apart from all the Frankfurt School-lite?


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PostPosted: Mon January 4th, 2010, 14:02 GMT 
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Joined: Fri June 27th, 2008, 20:28 GMT
Posts: 17309
Location: Maybe it isn't a tour, maybe he's just lost.
"Frankfurt School lite"??? Who mentioned Max Horkheimer? :shock:

Look... all that was being discussed before some Egyptian clodhopper showed up and ruined it is that the notion of the individual artist/genius is a concept that emerged at a particular historical moment but is now accepted as somehow timeless and "the way it's always been" by most people. History shows otherwise, and it is a potentially useful thing to point that out.

What's yer problem with that, bub?


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